I was listening to a radio show about computers and the host stated that in the past year, despite all the advancements in technology, our productivity as a country has decreased. What?! Decreased? How can that be?
With all the machines at our fingertips, how can our ability to get things done have suffered. I think I know the answer. It’s because we are so distracted we can’t stay focused on a task at hand.
When I was a co-owner of a company employing about 20 folks, it would drive me nuts to walk around the offices and see almost everyone with a mouse in their hands, staring at their screen. Oh sure, some of it was legitimate, but I’m sure at least 30 percent was just "surfing around."
So how do you know the time suckers have invaded your life? Not till it’s too late. Mobile phones, computers, television with tons of channels and new movies, DVD players in cars and on and on.
What do we lose from these time suckers? We are losing the art of conversation, because the 20-somethings, especially, will stare at the darn thing at the same time they are "talking" to you. Almost nobody uses a pen and paper. There are rare letters, thank you cards or just plain notes. I saw a group of teenagers this weekend gathered in a circle and they were all on their phones, most likely texting.
I have a whole file in my office of notes I have received from notable individuals, including three governors. I just recently bought 500 note cards for my business with the good intention of sending notes to folks. I may have used 10 of them in 6 months. Sending e-mails is so much easier.
The younger folks don’t even want a phone call if they can avoid it. When I call my own children, more often than not, I’ll get a text message back asking me, "What do you need?"
I need you to answer your phone! I don’t want to exchange five text messages to convey a simple point or request.
No wonder the post office is going broke. Nobody can write. They are even taking the teaching of handwriting out of the schools.
Are our kids losing their ability to play outside and entertain themselves with something more constructive like throwing dirt clods at each other? I can remember leaving the house first thing in the morning and returning only for food and drink.
The day was spent "out in the woods" in a fantasy battle or sports event. Nobody was worried that we would be kidnapped. It was a different world.
I have written here before about how many people have mobile phones, and the number is rising each year. But, amazingly, the most effective way to reach mass audiences is by television. It remains the most intrusive medium on earth.
Social and digital media have certainly made their impact, but at this point the content is spread so thin that it can only reach pockets of people.
But let’s deal with that vast wasteland we call television: Hundreds of channels and nothing to watch. Duck Dynasty, Honey Boo Boo, The Bachelor and dozens of other shows occupy huge audiences while mainstream networks like NBC are a prime-time failure.
I am a television addict. As matter of fact, I am pretty much a "device" addict. I am constantly checking this or that on my "smart" phone and often sit with laptop in my lap while watching television.
I’ll leave you with this thought: When you’re on your deathbed, will you say, "I wish I had spent more time surfing the internet or watching television?"
Now get out there and interact with someone. The time suckers are lurking.
See you on the Boulevard.